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Get Up and Keep Going

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Preracecaution

My
friend Gabby Jones (twin sis to triathlon great Michellie Jones) recently
shared her thoughts on a particular challenge that many of us face at some
point during our running careers:

If you fall down, get up and keep
going.

A time comes in every runner’s
journey where she ends up face down on the path after tripping over some small
crack in the pavement or uneven ground on the trail. What does she do? She gets
up, looks around to see if anyone has witnessed her fall from grace and runs on
as though nothing has happened. She’s hurting all over – but there is time for
crying when she gets back home, sits on the couch, wraps ice around her banged
up knee and lets the tears flow……

Gabby
sent this to me after describing a run in which she was distracted by a magpie
squawking at her back. She turned her head and torso to shoo away the pesky
bird, but her legs continued their forward motion – unfortunately tripping and
landing Gabby square on the ground. Only the magpie witnessed her mortification.

It’s
actually an ongoing joke between the Jones sisters and me – the extent of our
lack of natural grace. I, for one, have layers of scars on my kneecaps from
various embarrassing spills I’ve taken on running trails. Once, during the run
portion of the Morgan Hill Sprint Triathlon, I even tripped over my own (size
10) feet. I probably would have stayed right there and cried, save for a friend
who happened to be running directly behind me. “Get up, keep going,” she said,
her momentum helping propel me forward, bloody knees and all.

A
few years ago, another girlfriend and I ran the Napa Valley Marathon with
yellow “caution” tape pinned across our backsides, a comedic tribute to the
various spills we’d both taken during the course of our training.

How
many of you have experienced equally embarrassing moments on your runs? The
sting of a sudden fall is severe, but it’s often the case, in retrospect (and
once the wounds heal), that our greatest mishaps provide the greatest laughs.
Certainly every time I see a magpie I can’t help but giggle a bit, thinking
about Gabby’s bird-based misfortune; and I’m sure she gets a kick out of my less-than-ladylike
knees.